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Israel opposed to any Palestinian reconciliation with Hamas ‘mass murderers’ – Netanyahu

RT | October 13, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out against the reconciliation deal reached between rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, claiming that peace between Israelis and Palestinians will now be “much harder to achieve.”

“There is nothing we want more than peace with all our neighbors, but reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas makes this peace much more difficult to achieve,” Netanyahu said in a statement published on his official Hebrew and English Facebook accounts.

Palestine’s civil discord started in 2007 when Hamas won the elections and obtained power in Gaza while the West Bank territories fell under Fatah’s control. Since then, all attempts to reconcile the two groups and form a Palestinian power-sharing government have stalled.

In 2014, the rival faction managed to briefly negotiate a deal, which also angered Tel Aviv. Israel swiftly suspended US-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians, refusing to deal with Hamas, which Tel Aviv considers a terrorist organization with the sole aim of destroying the State of Israel.

On Thursday, after intense negotiations, Hamas and Fatah reached a new reconciliation deal, which Israel once again immediately rejected.

“Israel is opposed to any form of reconciliation in which the terrorist organization of Hamas does not disarm and does not stop fighting for the destruction of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Tel Aviv, the Israeli PM said, will never accept Hamas’ strive to destroy Israel and will not deal with an organization that “advocates genocide” and launches “thousands” of rockets and tunnel incursions into Israel.

Netanyahu also accused Hamas of murdering children, oppressing the LGBT community and holding Israelis hostage. He believes Hamas is also guilty of “mourning” the death of former Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, as well as “torturing” the opposition.

“Reconciliation with mass murderers makes you part of the problem and not the solution,” Netanyahu wrote. “Say yes to peace and not to collaboration with Hamas.”

While the Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas reached a preliminary reconciliation agreement that the parties hope to implement in stages, they still seek to work out differences.

According to the agreement, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is to assume all governing rolls in Gaza no later than December 1. The PA will also take over the responsibility for Gaza’s border crossings no later than November 1. Yet the key issues such as the fate of Hamas’ military wing and wider political strategies are to be discussed at a later date, Haaretz reported.

Palestinian unity is necessary in order to have meaningful discussions with Israel on a two-state solution. Yet Israel refuses to have militant Hamas be part of the government. Before any two-state solution negotiations can resume, Tel Aviv advised the Palestinians to disarm Hamas and force the organization to honor international law.

“Any reconciliation between [Hamas and Fatah] must include honoring [international] agreements [and] Quartet conditions, firstly [by] recognizing Israel [and] disarming Hamas,” spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, Ofir Gendelman‏, tweeted. He added that digging tunnels, manufacturing missiles and initiating terror attacks are “incompatible” Quartet conditions and US efforts to renew the Middle East peace process.

The Israeli spokesman called on Fatah to assume responsibility for any militant action in Gaza, after a PA takeover of the region in December.

“The PA mustn’t allow any base whatsoever for Hamas terrorist actions from PA areas or from Gaza,” Ofir tweeted. “As long as Hamas does not disarm [and] continues to call for our destruction, Israel holds it responsible for all terrorism originating in Gaza.”

Hamas’ original charter in 1988 called for the reclaiming of all of Mandatory Palestine, which includes present-day Israel. The PA instead has been trying to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Reconciliation efforts between Palestinians and the Israelis have been supervised by the so-called Middle East Quartet – comprising the UN, Russia, the United States and the European Union – which advocates a two-state solution along the 1967 divide.

As long as the reconciliation process between the rival Palestinian faction proceeds, Israel will do all in its power to sabotage the process, political commentator Doctor Asa’ad Abusharekh from Gaza has told RT.

“Israel wants to see the Palestinian people all the time divided. I think Israel will try to torpedo and sabotage this reconciliation,” Abusharekh said. “We do not expect Israel to lift the siege of Gaza. Israel will probably put more obstacles simply because Israel is wary about this agreement.”

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

By Nicolas J S Davies | Consortium News | October 12, 2017

The Western media has been awash in speculation as to why, about a year ago, North Korea’s “crazy” leadership suddenly launched a crash program to vastly improve its ballistic missile capabilities. That question has now been answered.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In September 2016, North Korean cyber-defense forces hacked into South Korean military computers and downloaded 235 gigabytes of documents. The BBC has revealed that the documents included detailed U.S. plans to assassinate North Korea’s president, Kim Jong Un, and launch an all-out war on North Korea. The BBC’s main source for this story is Rhee Cheol-Hee, a member of the Defense Committee of the South Korean National Assembly.

These plans for aggressive war have actually been long in the making. In 2003, the U.S. scrapped an agreement signed in 1994 under which North Korea suspended its nuclear program and the U.S. agreed to build two light water reactors in North Korea. The two countries also agreed to a step-by-step normalization of relations. Even after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.

However, since 2002-03, when President George W. Bush included North Korea in his “axis of evil,” withdrew from the Agreed Framework, and launched an invasion of Iraq over bogus WMD claims, North Korea once again began enriching uranium and making steady progress toward developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

By 2016, the North Koreans also were keenly aware of the horrific fate of Iraq and Libya and their leaders after the countries did surrender their unconventional weapons. Not only did the U.S. lead bloody “regime change” invasions but the nations’ leaders were brutally murdered, Saddam Hussein by hanging and Muammar Gaddafi sodomized with a knife and then summarily shot in the head.

So, the discovery of the U.S. war plan in 2016 sounded alarm bells in Pyongyang and triggered an unprecedented crash program to quickly expand North Korea’s ballistic missile program. Its nuclear weapons tests established that it can produce a small number of first-generation nuclear weapons, but it needed a viable delivery system before it could be sure that its nuclear deterrent would be credible enough to deter a U.S. attack.

In other words, North Korea’s main goal has been to close the gap between its existing delivery systems and the missile technology it would need to actually launch a retaliatory nuclear strike against the United States. North Korea’s leaders see this as their only chance to escape the same kind of mass destruction visited on North Korea in the first Korean War, when U.S.-led air forces destroyed every city, town and industrial area and General Curtis LeMay boasted that the attacks had killed 20 percent of the population.

Through 2015 and early 2016, North Korea only tested one new missile, the Pukkuksong-1 submarine-launched missile. The missile launched from a submerged submarine and flew 300 miles on its final, successful test, which coincided with the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises in August 2016.

North Korea also launched its largest satellite to date in February 2016, but the launch vehicle seemed to be the same type as the Unha-3 used to launch a smaller satellite in 2012.

However, since the discovery of the U.S.-South Korean war plans a year ago, North Korea has vastly accelerated its missile development program, conducting at least 27 more tests of a wide range of new missiles and bringing it much closer to a credible nuclear deterrent. Here is a timeline of the tests:

–Two failed tests of Hwasong-10 medium-range ballistic missiles in October 2016.

–Two successful tests of Pukguksong-2 medium-range ballistic missiles, in February and May 2017. The missiles followed identical trajectories, rising to a height of 340 miles and landing in the sea 300 miles away. South Korean analysts believe this missile’s full range is at least 2,000 miles, and North Korea said the tests confirmed it is ready for mass production.

–Four medium-range ballistic missiles that flew an average of 620 miles from the Tongchang-ri space center in March 2017.

–Two apparently failed missile tests from Sinpo submarine base in April 2017.

–Six tests of Hwasong-12 medium-range ballistic missiles (range: 2,300 to 3,700 miles) since April 2017.

–A failed test of a missile believed to be a “KN-17” from Pukchang airbase in April 2017.

–Test of a Scud-type anti-ship missile that flew 300 miles and landed in the Sea of Japan, and two other tests in May 2017.

–Several cruise missiles fired from the East coast in June 2017.

–A test of a powerful new rocket engine, maybe for an ICBM, in June 2017.

–North Korea tested two Hwasong-14 “near-ICBMs” in July 2017. Based on these tests, the Hwasong-14 may be capable of hitting city-sized targets in Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, but cannot yet reach the U.S. West Coast.

–Four more missiles tested in August 2017, including a Hwasong-12 that flew over Japan and travelled 1,700 miles before breaking up, maybe as a result of a failure in a “Post Boost Vehicle” added to improve range and accuracy.

–Another ballistic missile flew 2,300 miles over the Pacific on September 15, 2017.

An analysis of the two tests of the Hwasong-14 in July by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) concluded that these missiles are not yet capable of carrying a 500 kg payload as far as Seattle or other U.S. West Coast cities. BAS notes that a first generation nuclear weapon based on the Pakistani model that North Korea is believed to be following could not weigh less than 500 kg, once the weight of the warhead casing and a heat shield to survive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere are taken into account.

Global Reaction

Awareness of the role of the U.S. war plan in spurring the dramatic escalation of North Korea’s missile program should be a game changer in the world’s response to the crisis over Korea, since it demonstrates that the current acceleration of the North Korean missile program is a defensive response to a serious and potentially existential threat from the United States.

If the United Nations Security Council was not diplomatically and militarily intimidated by the United States, this knowledge should trigger urgent action in the Security Council to require all sides to make a firm commitment to peaceful and binding diplomacy to formally end the Korean War and remove the threat of war from all the people of Korea. And the whole world would unite politically and diplomatically to prevent the U.S. from using its veto to avoid accountability for its leading role in this crisis. Only a unified global response to potential U.S. aggression could possibly convince North Korea that it would have some protection if it eventually halted its nuclear weapons program.

But such unity in the face of a threat of U.S. aggression would be unprecedented. Most U.N. delegates quietly sat and listened on Sept. 19 when President Donald Trump delivered explicit threats of war and aggression against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, while boasting about his missile strike against Syria on April 6 over dubious and disputed claims about a chemical weapons incident.

For the past 20 years or more, the United States has swaggered about as the “last remaining superpower” and the “indispensable nation,” a global law unto itself, using the dangers of terrorism and weapons proliferation and highly selective outrage over “dictators” as propaganda narratives to justify illegal wars, CIA-backed terrorism, its own weapons proliferation, and support for its favored dictators like the brutal rulers of Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies.

For even longer, the United States has been two-faced about international law, citing it when some adversary can be accused of a violation but ignoring it when the U.S. or its allies are trampling on the rights of some disfavored country. When the International Court of Justice convicted the United States of aggression (including acts of terrorism) against Nicaragua in 1986, the U.S. withdrew from the ICJ’s binding jurisdiction.

July 1950 U.S. Army file photograph once classified “top secret”. S. Korean soldiers walk among thousands of political prisoners shot at Taejon, S. Korea.
(AP Photo/National Archives, Major Abbott/U.S. Army, File)

Since then, the U.S. has thumbed its nose at the entire structure of international law, confident in the political power of its propaganda or “information warfare” to cast itself as the guardian of law and order in the world, even as it systematically violates the most basic rules spelled out in the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

U.S. propaganda treats the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions, the world’s “Never again” to war, torture and the killing of millions of civilians in the Second World War, as relics of another time that it would be naive to take seriously.

But the results of the U.S. alternative — its lawless “might makes right” war policy — are now plain for all to see. In the past 16 years, America’s post-9/11 wars have already killed at least two million people, maybe many more, with no end in sight to the slaughter as the U.S.’s policy of illegal war keeps plunging country after country into intractable violence and chaos.

An Ally’s Fears

Just as North Korea’s missile programs are a rational defense strategy in the face of the threat Pyongyang faces from the U.S., the exposure of the U.S.’s war plan by American allies in South Korea is also a rational act of self-preservation, since they too are threatened by the possibility of war on the Korean peninsula.

Now maybe other U.S. allies, the wealthy countries that have provided political and diplomatic cover for the U.S.’s 20-year campaign of illegal war, will finally reassert their humanity, their sovereignty and their own obligations under international law, and start to rethink their roles as junior partners in U.S. aggression.

Countries like the U.K., France and Australia will sooner or later have to choose between forward-looking roles in a sustainable, peaceful multi-polar world and a slavish loyalty to the ever-more desperate death throes of U.S. hegemony. Now might be a good moment to make that choice, before they are dragged into new U.S. wars in Korea, Iran or Venezuela.

Even Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is afraid that Donald Trump will lead humanity into World War III. But it might come as a surprise to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and parts of a dozen other countries already engulfed by U.S.-driven wars to learn that they are not already in the midst of World War III.

Perhaps what really worries the Senator is that he and his colleagues may no longer be able to sweep these endless atrocities under the plush carpets of the halls of Congress without a genteel Barack Obama in the White House to sweet-talk U.S. allies around the world and keep the millions being killed in U.S. wars off U.S. TVs and computer screens, out of sight and out of mind.

If politicians in the U.S. and around the world need the ugliness of Donald Trump as a mirror for their own greed, ignorance and temerity, to shame them into changing their ways, so be it – whatever it takes. But it should not escape anyone anywhere that the signature on this diabolical war plan that now threatens to kill millions of Koreans was not Donald Trump’s but Barack Obama’s.

George Orwell might well have been describing the partisan blindness of the West’s self-satisfied, so easily deluded, neoliberal society when he wrote this in 1945,

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its color when it is committed by our side… The Nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Here’s the bottom line: The United States has been planning to assassinate Kim Jong Un and to launch an all-out war on North Korea. There. You’ve heard it. Now, can you still be manipulated into believing that Kim Jong Un is simply “crazy” and North Korea is the gravest threat to world peace?

Or do you now understand that the United States is the real threat to peace in Korea, just as it was in Iraq, Libya and many other countries where the leaders were deemed “crazy” and U.S. officials (and the Western mainstream media) promoted war as the only “rational” alternative?


Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

US missile shield part of ‘prompt global strike’ doctrine fuelling new arms race – Russian MoD

RT | October 13, 2017

The US anti-missile system is designed to provide Washington with a “prompt global strike” capability without fear of retaliation. This in turn pushes other countries into building up and upgrading their own weaponry, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“The US missile defense serves as a stimulus for the enhancement of missile capabilities in the world, thus effectively provoking a new arms race,” said the ministry’s spokesman, Colonel Aleksandr Emelyanov. The colonel was speaking during a joint Russian-Chinese military briefing, held on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly committee meeting on monitoring international security issues and disarmament.

The missile defense system is in fact a crucial part of Washington’s planned “prompt global strike” contingency, which could target any US adversary in the world, potentially including Russia or China, the colonel explained.

Thus the “unlimited deployment” of the elements of the US global missile defense system around the world poses a “threat to humanity” and is a “major challenge” to global security.

“A link between the deployment of the missile defense elements and the development of the prompt global strike system is evident,” said Emelyanov, adding that such a concept could involve launching a “disarming strike” against Russia’s or China’s strategic nuclear forces, the missile defense system being subsequently used to protect the US from any retaliatory move.

The development of such a system is just “further evidence proving that Washington is seeking to disrupt the existing balance of power and achieve global strategic dominance,” the colonel added. He also warned that further expansion of the US missile defense system poses a grave danger to international security, as it would significantly lower the threshold of a potential use of nuclear weapons by the US and its allies.

The US is in fact building up its missile defense capabilities in an effort to build a capacity to use nuclear weapons with “minimal costs,” Emelyanov stated.

“The global missile defense system lowers the threshold of the use of nuclear weapons as it creates an illusion of impunity in case of a surprise [US] attack, using strategic offensive weapons under the ‘missile defense umbrella’,” he said.

Emelyanov warned that the US continues to misinform the international community about its true capabilities, even though the sheer number of the US ABM interceptor missiles is expected to exceed the number of warheads mounted on the Russian ballistic intercontinental missiles at some point.

“The US specialists use explicitly unrealistic scenarios and basic data” in their assessment of the missile defense systems’ capabilities, thus providing misleading information about their true potential, he said.

Meanwhile the deployment of US missile defense does little to protect the countries where its elements are stationed, but on the contrary puts them at risk instead as it makes them targets for potential strikes while still defending primarily the US territory and its interests, Emelyanov stressed.

“It is Washington that will decide, whom these systems will protect,” Emelyanov said, adding that the countries hosting the elements of the US ABM in fact become “hostages” of the US policies.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

5 People You Won’t Believe Worked For the CIA

corbettreport | Oct 11, 2017

When you think of a CIA agent, you probably think of the Hollywood stereotypes: a tall, athletic man in a black suit with dark sunglasses, walking around with one hand on his gun and the other on his ear piece.

But that’s stupid. Spies are meant to blend in, not stick out, and the best spies are the ones you’re least likely to expect. So I bet you never knew these people were secretly working for the CIA…

TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES: https://www.corbettreport.com/?p=24203

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 4 Comments

‘Return to sanity’: Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse

RT | October 12, 2017

Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the treaty signed between the US and the Soviet Union on the elimination of nuclear and conventional missiles is “in jeopardy,” stressing that scrapping the 1987 deal could end in “disastrous” consequences.

“This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the treaty between the Soviet Union and United States on the elimination of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles…” the former Soviet leader wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

He went on to note the merits of the deal, citing the fact that Russia and the US reported in 2015 that 80 percent of the nuclear warheads accumulated during the Cold War had been decommissioned or destroyed.

However, Gorbachev – who led the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991 – said the agreement is now “in jeopardy.”

“It has proved to be the most vulnerable link in the system of limiting and reducing weapons of mass destruction. There have been calls on both sides for scrapping the agreement,” he wrote.

Gorbachev stated that both Russia and the US have “raised issues of compliance, accusing the other of violating or circumventing the Treaty’s key provisions…”

“Relations between the two nations are in a severe crisis,” he said, noting the importance of establishing “a dialogue based on mutual respect.”

The former Soviet leader said that it is up to US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “take action,” and called on both countries to hold a summit to focus on “the problems of reducing nuclear weapons and strengthening strategic stability.”

Once again noting the importance of the INF Treaty, Gorbachev warned that scrapping the deal could result in a collapse of the “system of nuclear arms control,” which would lead to “disastrous” consequences.

Gorbachev referred to today’s “troubled world” and said it was “disturbing” that US-Russia relations have “become a serious source of tensions and a hostage to domestic politics.”

“It is time to return to sanity,” he wrote.

Signed at a 1987 summit meeting between Gorbachev and then-US President Ronald Reagan, the INF Treaty obligated both sides to eliminate their short- and intermediate-range missiles. It came into force on June 1, 1988.

The Treaty allowed for hundreds of nuclear-tipped missiles that were deployed in Europe to be scrapped amid the Cold War arms race.

The editorial comes just days after former US Defense Secretary William Perry warned that relations between Washington and Moscow have entered a “new Cold War,” and that current conditions could lead to global conflict.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

‘Major impediment’: PACE says Ukraine education law violates ethnic minority rights

Schoolchildren at the celebratory assembly dedicated to the Day of Knowledge in Lviv. © Pavel Palamarchuk / Sputnik
RT | October 12, 2017

A new Ukrainian education law fails to “strike a balance” between the official language and those of minorities, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said in a resolution, adding that it is not conducive to “living together.”

PACE expressed its concerns over the articles relating to education in minority languages in the law recently adopted by Kiev. It “entails a heavy reduction in the rights previously recognized to ‘national minorities’ concerning their own language of education,” according to the document.

“The new legislation does not appear to strike an appropriate balance between the official language and the languages of national minorities,” the resolution adopted by PACE on Thursday says. The document was supported by 82 members of the 110 who took part in the vote, RIA Novosti reports. Only 11 parliamentarians opposed it while 17 others abstained.

The resolution further says that the Ukrainian education act “is not conducive to ‘living together,’” which particularly encompasses the principle of non-discrimination. PACE noted that any country’s measures aimed at promoting its official language must “go hand in hand with measures to protect and promote the languages of national minorities.”

The assembly said it “deplored” the fact that no consultations with the national minorities in Ukraine were held ahead of the adoption of the law. It further “expressed dissatisfaction” that the text of the legislation was submitted to the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) for an opinion only after it was approved by the Ukrainian parliament – the Supreme Rada – and signed by the president, Petro Poroshenko.

The resolution called on Kiev to ensure that there is enough “flexibility” in the planning and implementation of the educational reform to “avoid hasty changes prejudicing the quality of education provided to pupils and students belonging to national minorities.”

It also asked the Ukrainian authorities “to fully implement” the recommendations of the Venice Commission, which it is expected to deliver by the end of 2017. The controversial legislation adopted by the Supreme Rada on September 5, and signed by Poroshenko on September 27, is still causing concern in neighboring European countries.

The head of the Hungarian delegation at PACE, Zsolt Nemeth, accused Kiev of being at odds with European values and said that the newly adopted law could lead to instability in the western Ukrainian regions. He also called on European countries to “continue to exert pressure” on Ukraine to make it “stay within the framework of European values,” as reported by TASS.

Moldovan MP and also PACE member, Vlad Batrincea, said that Kiev is cherry-picking European values. Ukraine acts as if it had a “menu in a restaurant,” the MP said, adding that Kiev adopts some European norms but pretends it is unaware of others.

Following the adoption of the law, Romania cancelled a state visit to Ukraine by President Klaus Werner Iohannis and refused to host a parliamentary delegation from Ukraine in protest.

Moldovan President Igor Dodon warned that Ukraine’s Moldovan and Romanian minorities risked “denationalization” under the new law, while Hungary called it a “stab in the back.”

Later, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto threatened to block Ukraine’s EU integration under the Eastern Partnership program in response to the adoption of the law.

The legislation is expected to affect at least 400,000 children studying in 735 Ukrainian schools which offer instruction in minority languages. The majority of these children are ethnic Russians, but other minorities in Ukraine include Romanians, Hungarians, Moldovans and Poles.

Under the newly adopted law, only children in grades 1-4 would be allowed to learn the curriculum in their native tongues in Ukraine starting from 2018, and by 2020 even that will no longer be legal.

Read more:

Russian parliament blasts new Ukrainian language law as violation of European Charter

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

The underlying reasons for Turkey’s disengagement from the US and the West

By Dmitry MININ | Strategic Culture Foundation | 12.10.2017

The Turkish media is reporting that a staffer at the American consulate general in Istanbul was recently arrested under the serious charge of attempting the “destruction of the constitutional order,” “espionage,” and seeking “to overthrow the government.”

To be specific, ties have been uncovered between the man under arrest and some prominent members of Fethullah Gülen’s movement (FETÖ), which is banned in Turkey. Previous accusations had been made against General Joseph Votel, the commander of US CENTCOM and an expert in covert operations, alleging that he had cooperated with the conspirators who attempted a military coup in Turkey in July 2016.

And this is only the tip of a very cold and growing iceberg that has gradually been disrupting the relationship between these formerly close allies – the US and Turkey. Not even President Erdoğan’s visit to the US this year could buck these trends.

Observing that relations between the two countries have been deteriorating for more than a decade, US columnists, for example – Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner – reflexively sum it all up as evidence of the deleterious influence of Vladimir Putin. In his assessment of the most recent meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents in Ankara, that journalist points to the fact that Recep Erdoğan called Vladimir Putin “my dear friend” and even “stroked his ego” by speaking to him – horror of horrors! – “in Russian,” as though that were a crime.

CNBC also notes that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin “share a general suspicion and mistrust of the US.” It seems, however, that the reasons for Turkey’s growing frustration with its efforts to cooperate with its Western partners, including the United States, run deeper. According to the Huffington Post, Ankara realized several years ago that neither the US nor influential NATO members such as Germany, France, and Britain take Turkey’s security concerns or economic interests seriously. As a result, Ankara decided to go it alone and began “wooing” Russia militarily and Iran economically.

The joint study produced not so long ago by the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Center for Strategic Research and America’s CSIS, which reviews relations between Ankara and Washington, did not anticipate anything of this nature. The “Arab Spring” had just begun, and few people correctly surmised how that would unfold. Moreover, the study proclaimed that the two countries’ “partnership has recently been enhanced by overlapping perspectives on the unprecedented transformation sweeping the Middle East.” But nothing quite worked out that way.

At that time the foundations for the strategic alliance between the US and Turkey were seen as: close cooperation on issues related to the “Arab spring”; a Turkish role in the NATO mission in Afghanistan; Turkey’s decision to join the NATO missile-defense program; and American assistance with Turkey’s military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

All these elements of their “bilateral rapport” have now turned into factors of their alienation. For example, the Turkish government considers the US government to be fully to blame for the failure of the “Arab spring,” a stance that it takes, apparently, in part in order to sidestep criticism from its own citizens. In any event, there is now no serious cooperation between Ankara and Washington to speak of. Each acts at its own risk and peril. Turkey’s presence in Afghanistan was long ago reduced to a purely symbolic role. And Turkey’s potential purchase of the Russian S-400 system is indicative of more than merely Ankara’s shift toward non-NATO weapons – it is a consequence of the country’s de facto refusal to participate in the NATO program to create a joint missile-defense shield. The S-400 is a missile interceptor that is quite powerful enough to allow Turkey to autonomously defend its own territory.

And there’s a good reason this deal is so irritating to Washington and Brussels. Due to the oscillations of American policy in Syria, the local branch of the PKK – the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) – has suddenly become the US administration’s main bedrock of support there. And this is perhaps the biggest irritant for the Turks. Suffice it to say that the Americans failed to meet their obligation to move the Kurds east of the Euphrates River and out of Manbij and Tabqa. The promise they made to Ankara to disarm the Kurds after the defeat of IS has also been unabashedly left hanging. The Turks deeply dislike being deceived. There is an ever-growing possibility that the US and Turkey, which are “NATO allies,” will become embroiled in an indirect armed conflict (!) through their “proxies” from the pro-Turkish FSA and the pro-American SDF.

Surveys conducted in Turkey by the American Pew Research Center show that 72% of Turks consider the US to be a threat to their country’s security. This is a world record, hands down. Few in Turkey were swayed by Washington’s refusal to formally support the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan. They don’t think that the Iraqi Kurds would have risked a referendum at all without the Americans’ tacit consent. It is noteworthy that not only Erdoğan, but also pro-opposition Turkish nationalists are highly critical of the US Kurdish policy. They believe that by flirting with the Kurds, Washington is pursuing a long-term strategy to create a “second Israel” in the Middle East. They are particularly irritated by the inclusion of oil-rich Kirkuk – which they traditionally view as a Turkmen city – within the zone of the referendum.

One might ask: how enduring are these changes that have been seen in the relationship between the two countries and in the sentiments of the Turkish public? Might they be scrapped once the next generation of politicians gets into office? But it appears rather to be a manifestation of deep-seated patterns of behavior. The post-war threats to Turkey’s security that at one time prompted its close integration with Western institutions, including NATO, simply do not exist today. And they are unlikely to reemerge. The real dangers for Turkey all come from a completely different direction – the Middle East. And to a large extent those dangers can be blamed on the actions of Ankara’s Western allies, who, instead of providing security, have become agents of destabilization. Perhaps the discussion today should be more about finding protection from them, not about joint-defense operations with them.

In addition, by abandoning its dream once and for all of joining the European Union – and that issue can be seen as settled, once and for all, on both sides – Turkey must obviously give some thought to its dependence on NATO. Although there is not yet any talk of Ankara’s pulling out of that institution, it is clearly inevitable that Turkey will reject some of the restrictive commitments and rules mandated by the North Atlantic alliance. Those might chiefly involve decisions to use military force that is unsanctioned by NATO. Erdoğan set out to entirely eliminate Turkey’s dependence on defense imports – which includes the goal of launching his country’s own aircraft carrier – by 2023, when Turkey will celebrate the centennial of the founding of its republic.

It’s no secret to anyone that nowadays NATO positions itself as a kind of “introductory class” to prep countries on their path to EU membership. All of Eastern Europe, for example, was forced to pass through this purgatory. It’s no surprise that Austria, Finland, and Sweden, which were early joiners to the European Union, aren’t seriously contemplating becoming NATO members, despite the discussions on this topic that are constantly forced upon them. And as far as Turkey is concerned, without the prospect of joining the EU, that alliance has become too cumbersome and useless.

From the standpoint of Turkey’s real interests, gradual rapprochement with its regional neighbors – Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Russia, as well as with global unions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – may be more promising. Although some might currently view this drift as a mere episode, it is in fact quite a logical development, based on objective criteria and which may well prove to be long-term.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Weinstein scandal shows America is ethically bankrupt, indecent collection of moral cowards

By Michael McCaffrey | RT | October 12, 2017

Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal isn’t only an indictment of his twisted soul, but of America’s as well.

The story of Weinstein, the uber-powerful film producer, co-founder of Miramax Films and major donor to Democratic politicians, who got fired from his job as co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company after the New York Times ran an article exposing his serial sexual harassment of female employees, is such a perfect storm of corruption, depravity and hypocrisy that it exquisitely encapsulates the moral decay of America.

The New York Times piece revealed that Weinstein has settled at least eight different sexual harassment lawsuits over the years. The article was just the tip of a really grotesque iceberg, for in its wake a plethora of other claims has surfaced.

In a New Yorker article, written, ironically enough, by Ronan Farrow, son of alleged pedophile Woody Allen, even more claims emerged of Weinstein’s predatory behavior. One of the many lowlights from that article includes Italian actress/filmmaker Asia Argento and two other women claiming that Weinstein raped them.

The most famous women among the sea of those claiming harassment at the hands of the movie mogul are Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette.

The odiousness of this Weinstein scandal is overwhelming, and nearly every public person is going through the Kabuki theater of denouncing Harvey and his lecherousness, but this strikes me as disingenuous at best. All the movie stars, media members, and politicians strongly reprimanding Weinstein now, displayed nothing but egregious cowardice during Harvey Weinstein’s grotesque reign of wanton terror.

Many Hollywood heavyweights like Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lawrence, are feigning ignorance of Weinstein’s disgusting depravity, but the revelation of Weinstein’s repulsive misdeeds cannot possibly come as a surprise. Harvey, the rotund and repugnant Hollywood kingmaker, is notorious in the film industry for his petulant and imperious approach, which includes physically abusing underlings and being a lascivious beast to women. Tales of Weinstein’s bad behavior are so legion that even a complete nobody like me has heard them ad infinitum.

So how did Harvey get away with being such a gigantic creep for so long? The main reason is that he possessed the rarest talent that all of Hollywood covets, the ability to garner Oscar votes for his films. Weinstein produced films have been nominated for Best Picture 26 times in the last 28 years and have been nominated overall for over 300 Academy Awards. In other words, Harvey could make people rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams, which is why so many in Hollywood checked their humanity and ethics at the door and looked the other way when he was being such a troglodyte. To quote Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Blind ambition isn’t the only reason Hollywood looked the other way regarding Weinstein, political expediency played a part as well. Weinstein has been a long time supporter of Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in particular, and has donated a lot of money to their campaigns.

A perfect example of someone making a devil’s bargain with Weinstein for political reasons is Lena Dunham. Dunham, a vociferous and vocal Clinton supporter and devout feminist, admitted she knew of Weinstein’s predatory reputation in regards to women, but still shook his hand and performed at a fundraiser he held for Clinton’s campaign. Dunham said she betrayed her feminist values because “she so desperately wanted to support Clinton.”

Hollywood liberals were quick to denounce Evangelical Christians for supporting Trump despite his moral turpitude and misogyny, calling them hypocrites. I agree that Evangelicals are hypocrites for supporting Trump, but so are Hollywood liberals for enabling Weinstein. Both sides need to get off their high horse and read Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite! First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Speaking of enabling, the Weinstein scandal brought to my mind a line from a U2 song, “if you need someone to blame, throw a rock in the air, you’ll hit someone guilty.” When I throw my rock, it often lands on the media, and so it is with this case.

Ronan Farrow published his Weinstein story in the New Yorker magazine, but only because his employer NBC news refused to go with the story. NBC is in business with Weinstein on various film and television projects, and no doubt did not want to ruffle the feathers of such a powerful and litigious man like Harvey Weinstein, so they passed on it, which means this story says just as much about them as it does about Weinstein.

Even the New York Times, which broke the Weinstein story, came out smelling less like a rose and more like a manure pile after it became known the newspaper spiked a similar story regarding Weinstein in 2004 after being pressured by the producer and his lawyers to do so.

The New York Times dropping the ball on an important story in the early 2000’s should come as no surprise to anyone who followed the lead up to the Iraq War or Bush surveillance, but what was shocking was who helped to scuttle the 2004 Weinstein article. Matt Damon, yes, Matt Damon, Mr. Good Will Hunting, and thought-to-be good guy called the Times reporter to defend and vouch for Weinstein to stop the story. So did everyone’s favorite Gladiator Russell Crowe. I wonder how Damon and Crowe sleep at night knowing they were complicit in thirteen more years of Weinstein’s abusing women?

It is uncomfortable to acknowledge, but another group of people who could have stopped Harvey Weinstein but did not were the more famous of his victims, like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd. These women did not ask to be placed in this terrible position, but they could have stopped him cold if they came forward years ago. The reason I cite them and not the other victims is because they were uniquely positioned to be able to defend themselves and to take on Harvey Weinstein, where the other victims were not. What I mean by that is that Paltrow, Jolie, Sorvino, and Judd all come from entertainment families that are well-known and liked in the industry. They were not powerless because they have strong allies and deep connections in the business. These women, sans Judd, also won Oscars, giving them, even more, credibility and visibility to make their claims. I do not “blame” these women for being harassed or assaulted by Weinstein, I only wish they overcame their ambition and saved others from that awful fate.

The cavalcade of condemnation for Weinstein will continue unabated for the days and weeks to come, and deservedly so, but to see him only as a target of derision diminishes his impact as a cautionary tale. Weinstein is simply a symptom of the wider disease which I call “reality show America,” which sees human beings as disposable and transactional objects whose value is measured in terms of their usefulness for entertainment or pleasure.

The true power of the Weinstein story is not about his personal failings, but that it is symbolic of the fact that “reality-show America”, which thrives across the political and cultural spectrum, is a collection of self-serving, amoral, hypocrites who are quick to attack the failings of their enemy but slow to embrace self-reflection.

Will the denizens of “reality-show America” in Hollywood, Washington and the news media ask themselves how they have contributed to the culture that bred a man like Harvey Weinstein? I sincerely doubt it since deflection, emotional myopia and historical amnesia are as American as apple pie.

This scandal is an opportunity, not only to see Weinstein for who he really is but also to see America for what we have become…an ethically bankrupt and indecent collection of moral cowards allergic to self-reflection and truth.

This “reality-show America”, currently starring the Trumps and Kardashians (with special guest appearance by the Clintons!) and produced by Harvey Weinstein, reveals that America has devolved to the point of shameless obscenity, and regardless of how self-righteous we as liberals, conservatives, Democrats or Republicans may feel, we no longer possess any moral authority because, just like Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood, Washington and Wall Street, we are incapable of being honest with ourselves.

It is difficult to admit, but if we mustered the courage to see ourselves as we truly are, we would recognize that Harvey Weinstein is America, and America is Harvey Weinstein. Both are bloated, entitled, corrupt, bombastic, blindly ambitious bullies, full of fear and loathing, that use their outsized power to exploit the defenseless to indulge their darker impulses and insatiable desires. The sooner we recognize that, the faster we can try to change it.

Michael McCaffrey is a freelance writer, film critic and cultural commentator. He currently resides in Los Angeles where he runs his acting coaching and media consulting business. mpmacting.com/blog/

https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/406317-weinstein-scandal-hollywood-hypocrisy/video/

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption | , , | 4 Comments

US Needs to Probe Facebook, Google Abuse of Mega-Data for Profit – Analyst

Sputnik – October 12, 2017

Wall Street Analyst Charles Ortel believes that the US authorities have to investigate the alleged use of mega-data gathered by social media corporations for business profit.

The US government needs to launch a serious inquiry into how the social media giant corporations led by Facebook and Google use the mega-data they gather on hundreds of millions of people for business gain, financial analyst Charles Ortel said in an interview on Wednesday.

“Google and Facebook in the main what they are doing is convincing people around the world to give away very valuable information and then they’re monetizing this for their investors,” Ortel told RT on Wednesday. “There should be some serious inquiry into that.”

Ortel was commenting on the close cooperation between the major US media outlets led by the New York Times and the social media giant corporations in distorting search results and boosting stories overwhelmingly hostile to President Donald Trump.

“What we’ve seen so far is shocking,” he said. “Over 90 percent of the news was negative (on Trump). “I think that kind of stuff happens all the time.”

The Google search engine suppressed conservatives financial analysts and others who were critical of the left-wing and progressive beliefs of most of the billionaires who ran Silicon Valley, Ortel said.

“On the question of Google I have noticed what I believe to be suppression of Google search results… When someone is identified as being conservative economically they go into the question file… These people in Silicon Valley they all lean to the left,” he said.

Trump has publicly accused the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS of presenting fake news.Ortel told RT that Trump had been correct in his criticisms as major US media outlets, especially The New York Times, openly and repeatedly slanted the news according to their preferred bias.

“The New York Times certainly has had an anti-conservative bent for a long, long time… The New York Times has a decided bias and it needs to reform itself or it will indeed fail as Donald Trump in fact suggests it is [already failing],” he said.

Ortel also said the New York Times during the 2016 presidential election campaign had refused to report the fact that the Clinton Foundation charity was under investigation.

“In August 2016 the New York Times knew the Clinton Foundation was under investigation. That is incredibly relevant information that they spiked,” he said.

Charles Ortel, a former executive at the financial firms Chart Group and Dillon, Read & Company, exposed financial fraud at General Electric back in 2007 and is proceeding with his private investigation into the alleged fraud of the Clinton Foundation.

Ortel discussed the issue of media bias at RT after Project Veritas released hidden camera footage of conversations with New York Times editor Nick Dudich. The video showed Dudich admitting to using connections at YouTube to get New York Times videos on the front page of the platform.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Almost Half of Germans, French, Poles Think US Interferes in Foreign Elections

Sputnik – October 12, 2017

The majority of the educated European public think it is the US which exerts influence on the elections in other countries, according to Sputnik’s public poll, which has been conducted by the leading French pollster Ifop.

Sputnik asked French pollster Ifop (French Institute of Public Opinion), a renowned international market researcher that has been gathering public opinion for large companies and political parties worldwide since 1938, to discover what Europeans think about the issue of interference in foreign elections in the wake of the accusations of Russia of meddling in voting in other countries.

Russia has been accused by the US of interfering in foreign parliamentary and presidential elections, with the allegations leading to a new round of anti-Russian sanctions levied by Washington.

Ifop interviewed 3,228 respondents over 18 years of age in the UK, France, Germany and Poland, asking them, “Taking into account its political and economic influence and the capabilities of its special forces, which country exerts more influence on the elections in other countries?”

Among the suggested countries were the US, Russia and the EU bloc, other options suggested another country or none.

One-third of the UK residents think it is the US which exerts influence on the elections in other countries. However the percentage is higher in Germany and France (over 40%), the countries, which this year voted in federal and presidential elections correspondingly.

In Poland, which voted in parliamentary and presidential elections in 2015, 43% also think that it is the US.

21% of the UK residents and less than 30% of continental Europeans, however, believe that Russia has an influence on the voting in other countries.

The number of those who think that the EU interferes in the elections of other countries is almost twice as high in the UK (18%), than in France, Germany or Poland.

Age seemed to have an important influence on the answers, with the tech-savvy under 35’s showing less faith in the impartiality of the US political machine than the older generation.

In all four countries, the poll showed that education also played a factor, with those possessing a higher education choosing the US as the main culprit, in comparison to their less-educated peers.

With regards to their political preferences, in France, more supporters of the left (50%) think that the US is meddling in voting in other countries, than those who support the National Front and those who support the Democratic Movement party.

As for Germany, more Eastern Germans support the idea that the US interferes (46%), versus 39% of the Western Germans polled. Meanwhile, 31% of Westerners think the same about Russia, versus 18% in Eastern Germany.

In the UK, people residing outside the capital think the US interferes more, while about 30% of Londoners support this point of view.

In Poland, it is more the right (44%) and centrists (43%) who blame the US, while 38% of the left are of the same opinion.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

NYT & YouTube collusion spawns fake news ‘bastard child’ – Project Veritas to RT

RT | October 12, 2017

Project Veritas Communications Director Stephen Gordon told RT about undercover videos allegedly revealing that YouTube algorithms are open to “intervention” and a NYT employee relied on the help of friends in Silicon Valley to promote his video content.

Gordon said that Project Veritas’ newly-released video of New York Times audience strategy editor Nick Dudich shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“It’s not exactly that they’re revelations, because I think it’s something we all know happens,” he said. “There’s collusion between the social media networks and the major media outlets.

“We caught them admitting it. We caught them being candid on undercover video, admitting what most people, most Americans … strongly suspect of the case anyway, but couldn’t prove. We’ve just proved it,” he said.

In the video released by Veritas, Dudich states that he parked a negative report about Facebook in a spot where he knew it would not draw a lot of traffic.

“Let’s say something ends up on the YouTube front page, the ‘New York Times’ freaks out about it, but they don’t know it’s just because my friends curate the front page. So, it’s like, a little bit of mystery you need in any type of job to make it look like what you do is harder than what it is,” Dudich admitted in the recording.

Project Veritas also revealed that YouTube’s Earnest Pettie, the Brand and Diversity Curation Lead, admitted that YouTube algorithms can be controlled manually.

“Algorithms do control everything but sometimes you need humans to provide a check,” he said.

“Realistically, that’s what the… that’s what the news carousel kind of does. So like, it’s above the search results so, at the very least, we can say this shelf of videos from news partners is legitimate news because we know that these are legitimate news organizations. And if at that point, somebody decides they’re going to scroll past that and go find Alex Jones, well, they were looking for him to begin with anyway.”

Gordon told RT there is a longstanding connection between the NYT and YouTube.

“When New York Times and YouTube are in bed, the bastard child of that relationship is fake news,” he said. “We’ve got more to come on the New York Times.”

Such kind of manipulation has always been in the media, Gordon says.

“Major internet companies are growing and maturing, becoming almost monopolistic. They’ve got the ability to do a lot more than they used to.”

According to Gordon, one of the worst deceits the mainstream media do is “gatekeeping.”

“They [media] are stopping or suppressing story lines they don’t want to hear or they don’t want you to hear. So they can bump up their narrative to the top of the list. And most people trust this. We need to break through that.”

The distrust in the media in the US is “very, very high,” Gordon said, adding that people “trust loggers and garbage men” more than the media.

Project Veritas is still going after fake news, Gordon said when asked about the project’s further steps of protecting the public.

“If I were an executive at NYT, I would be sleeping with one eye open, because who knows what we [will] have next week,” he said.

“We have more cameras, we have more people, we’ve got more videos coming soon.”

The New York Times responded to the undercover video with a statement on Tuesday.

“Based on what we’ve seen in the Project Veritas video, it appears that a recent hire in a junior position violated our ethical standards and misrepresented his role,” spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said, the New York Times reported.

“In his role at The Times, he was responsible for posting already published video on other platforms and was never involved in the creation or editing of Times videos. We are reviewing the situation now,” Rhoades Ha said.

Read more:

‘Human input into YouTube machinery’ makes specific news trend – Project Veritas (VIDEO)

NYT video editor caught bragging about slanting Trump coverage (VIDEO)

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment